Arthur Boyd an Australian auction winner

One of iconic Australian artist Arthur Boyd’s (1920-1999) Wimmera Series paintings from the 1950s (lot 126) was the big winner at Leski Auctions Foster Collection sale from the family’s Mount Eliza mansion Dendron House on Sunday September 5.

The painting was knocked down for $110,000 – almost twice its catalogue estimate – or $131,450 when the buyer’s premium is taken into account.

All the auction items sold for a total of $362,228 (including buyers’ premiums) against a pre-sale estimate of $153,720 – or 235 per cent by value.

The Foster family owned Dendron House for six decades and all the items offered for sale were new to the auction market. Each had been in the family for years with many arriving with Dr Bryan Foster in the 1930s when he moved from England.

Typical was a rare pair of English Hepplewhite mahogany bookcases (lot 26) which, listed at $4000-$6000, changed hands for $21,510.

Works by Jan Hendrick Scheltema (1861-1941) are always popular and his grazing cattle oil on canvas (lot 121) was no exception, selling for $11,352 on the same estimate as the bookcases.

White Camellias by Ernest Buckmaster (1897-1968) also fared well, bringing the same price as Scheltema on a $6000-$8000 estimate.

A circa 1820 English Regency breakfront low bookcase (lot 47) was another surprise, changing hands for $6572.50 – four times the catalogue estimate.

A Bernard Moore early 20th century flambe porcelain vase (lot 161) achieved the same $6572.50 result, while a set of four circa 1904 English sterling silver candlesticks (lot 1) sold for $5019.

Eighteenth and 19th century furniture seems to have renewed its popularity with buyers as a mahogany four drawer chest (lot 32) brought $4780.

Robert Johnson’s (1890-1964) Road to Yass (lot 142) sold for the same price. The painting came with a single page handwritten letter by the artist dated 1962 in which he explained the work to the current vendor’s father – and also a sales receipt for 135 guineas from Melbourne’s John Hogan Art Appraisers.

Lot 19, a circa 1835 English grandfather clock with eight-day weight driven movement signed M. Bartley Bristol, sold for $4541, while an early 19th century Georgian mahogany chest of drawers (lot 59) changed hands for $4302 on a $800-$1200 estimate.

Other significant sale items included a Georgian mahogany bow front chest of drawers (lot 28 - $3824) and James Northfield’s (1887-1973) Eildon, Small Harbour (lot 139 - $3824).

Lot 127, Kevin Charles (Pro) Hart’s 1928-2006) miners’ revenge Broken Hill, fell just short of its lower catalogue estimate at $19,120.

Dated 1964 and with an accompanying handwritten note detailing the provenance and story explanation, the painting is from the artist’s first solo exhibition and focuses on historical events in the Broken Hill area.

The work refers to a gruesome event following local Indigenous men killing a sheep and the miners retaliating by massacring 14 of them.

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